Close-ups (peas)

My peas are starting to come up in the garden. Their vines are such a cheery sight in the spring and then the first food to pick in June. This series of closeups begins with a peapod pin made with velvet ribbon and green wooden beads. You can read the story about my pins here.

peapod pin 1977

peapod pin 1977

Here’s a detail from “Picking Peas”, a fabric relief from 1985. The full scene is on another post here. The peapods are glass beads. I must have figured out how to knot the string to make the net or cut a piece out of an existing net.

detail from "Picking Peas" 1985

detail from “Picking Peas” 1985

The peapods in this illustration from Mary Had a Little Lamb are made from seed beads sewn inside thin satin ribbon.

detail from " Mary Had a Little lamb" 1995

detail from ” Mary Had a Little lamb” 1995

This is a felt pin from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. The peas in the ribbon pods are glass beads in both this photo and the one below.

pin from "Felt Wee Folk" 2003

pin from “Felt Wee Folk” 2003

 Here are some felt pea vines from an illustration in my upcoming book, Pocketful of Posies.

detail from Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Note: See other posts in the Close-ups series archive here.

Fairie Festival (mud man)

People really have fun coming up with personas  and costumes to wear at the May Day Fairie Festival. This character, “mud man”, obviously took a lot of time figuring out his outfit and makeup a few years ago. This year’s fair will be from April 30th  to May 2nd at Spoutwood Farm in Pennsylvania.

It  must have taken patience to add the feathers to his beard and the horns look so natural.

He came in my tent and surprised me! He’s wearing one of those great Utilikilts made of work clothes canvas.

What a face! Nice teeth, though.

Pocketful of borders (Mary Had a Little Lamb)

x-ray of my wrist

I’ve recently resumed working in my studio after months recuperating from my fall and broken wrist in January. It was  a bad break that required surgery to put in a plate and several screws.   Two orthopedic surgeons told me the break was too complicated for them to fix and that I needed a hand specialist. Now, I look at the x-ray of my wrist and appreciate the intricacies of the hand surgeon’s fine detailed work. I’m glad that I waited the ten days after the break to have her do the surgery in Boston. Today, after 2 months of hand therapy, I’ve regained most of my wrist’s rotation, but still have limited flexibility and strength. Even though the break was in my subdominant left hand, I need the full use of my wrist to hold materials that I stitch with my right. As I work, I can feel the tendons in my hand and wrist pulling and aching, but I’m determined to sew! My physical therapist told me that she will work with me another month, to see if we can get back as much use as possible.     

"Mary Had a Little Lamb", pages 26/27 from the book, "Pocketful of Posies"

detail from "Mary Had a Little Lamb"

 Before the accident, I was going to spend the winter making borders for all 50 of the original illustrations from my upcoming book Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes . So, I have a lot of work to catch up on.     


The pictures now need to be given borders and mounted on stretched backgrounds before being framed under glass for the traveling exhibit. The illustrations were photographed a year ago for reproduction in the book and now can be reworked for their 2nd life as framed pieces of original art. I just finished the border on the double-page spread for the rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. There was already a felt border, but I needed to finish the outside edge. I made a scalloped pattern and cut around the outside so that the corners were rounded.     


Then, with some variegated cotton thread (Watercolours by Caron), I sewed a blanket stitch around the curved edge.  I added a decorative curly-cued chain stitch made with 2-ply variegated embroidery floss (DMC).     


The scalloped border looked too flat, so I sewed 26-gauge wire to the underside, near the outside edge.     


I embroidered the date and my initials to the bottom border. Then, I bent the wire to make a wavy edge, just like you’d do with pie crust around the outside edge of a pie pan. The felt artwork is then sewn to a stretched piece of upholstery fabric.    



Here’s the finished picture. In the book, the words from the rhyme will be printed in the large open spaces and the book’s gutter will be in the center.     

"Mary Had a Little Lamb" ready for framing

Note: See other posts in the Pocketful of Borders series here.

Alex’s dress

I love to sew children’s clothes and especially enjoy making dresses for little girls. This special girl, Alex, started wearing her blue dress last summer and it still fit her this past Easter in Woods Hole. I like her matching ensemble of jeans and rubber boots. Her parents and grandparents have been family friends for many years and they sent these photos of their little girl to share. I’ve included pictures of the fabric and pattern.

Ojai House

Last week I was in Ojai, California, staying at the wonderful Oaks at Ojai Spa. After a long hard winter spent mending my broken wrist and concussion, it was wonderful to eat healthy food and excercise in a beautiful place. I’m feeling rejuvenated and like myself again. It’s as if I went away for “the cure”.  One morning, we went for an early brisk walk around Ojai and saw this most adorable house with a live oak in front. After we returned to the spa, I grabbed my camera and rushed back to take pictures in the early morning light.

Close-ups (owls)

Owls have such distinctive shapes and characteristics that make them visually appealing.  They can be identified by a simple silhouette or depicted in all their glory with every feather rendered in detail. This series begins with an owl (enlarged x 2) from an illustration for the Halloween poem in my book, You and me: Poems of Friendship and then continues with a felt purse from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. There’s the tiniest owl from In the Heart and then two from my upcoming (Sept./2010) book, Pocketful of Posies.

detail from "You and Me: Poems of Friendship" 1997

detail from “You and Me: Poems of Friendship” 1997


detail from "In the Heart" 2001

detail from “In the Heart” 2001

detail from endpapers in "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

detail from endpapers “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

detail from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Note: See other posts in the Close-ups series archive here.

Fairie Festival (costumes)

People work all winter on their costumes to wear at the May Day Fairie Festival. Not just women and girls wear wings, but dogs and manly looking guys have them, too. These photos show a sampling of characters from around the fair and in my tent in years past.  The Festival will be held from April 30- May 2 this year at Spoutwood Farm in Pennsylvania. You can see more photos and find out about the festival here.